IDC research shows that the world’s mobile worker population will reach 1.3 billion, 37.2 percent of the total workforce, by 2015 which is why it’s now more important than ever to give serious consideration to your corporate mobility policy. To gain the advantages of mobility while minimizing the unintended costs, we asked several enterprise mobility managers and gathered their top tips to help you create or refine your mobility policy.

At the start, make sure that the rules you develop encompass everything from the device and how it can be used, to the specifics of your corporate plan and features associated with it. Security and access control are important — and the place where most mobility policies begin — but as the line between personal and professional can be blurry where tablets and smartphones are concerned, you have to consider user behavior as well.

Here are the Top 5 considerations for a profitable and efficient corporate mobility policy:

  1. Mandating the use of Wi-Fi versus 3G/4G to control data roaming costs – free WiFi connections are becoming ubiquitous in public spaces like airports, subways, cafes and restaurants; employees should be encouraged to use these whenever possible when on the move – as long as there are the necessary mobile security measures in place.
  2. Defining personal versus business use for data consumption as well as voice calling — now one of the least popular features on modern smartphones – many companies are now setting a reasonable monthly limit on personal voice calls and texts. Clarifying which apps and types of data traffic are acceptable for business use is also essential if monthly bill shock is to be avoided.
  3. Stipulating WiFi-only download of non-business apps – Games, ringtones, personal media players and photography or video editors are just a few examples of large data downloads best accessed on a secure WiFi network – or better yet, at home.
  4. Clarifying when it’s OK to upgrade or replace a cell phone, smart phone or other mobile device – Ensure that operator contracts are clear on eligibility for free upgrades, and the timescales and costs involved if employees request an earlier move to the latest device.
  5. Explaining what technology measures you employ to mitigate the cost of employee mobile data usage – For the sake of transparency its good practice to let employees know when the company does employ measures like Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile Data Optimization (MDO), to control security, set policies and measure usage.

The drive to enable a more mobile workforce continues in organizations of every size, but successful enterprise mobilization can be complex in practice — there’s more at stake than just switching on the latest smart phones and watching the pieces fall into place. Mushrooming mobile data usage and the growing popularity of mobile apps requires a managed approach: infrastructure to control data spend and a well-defined corporate policy that outlines acceptable usage, explains how the company controls mobile costs, and eliminates monthly ‘bill shock’ caused by unexpected data consumption.
Enterprises using Mobile Data Optimization (MDO) will be able to enforce cellular data usage policies in real-time, compressing data, limiting data usage to avoid bill shock or kerbing non-work related usage (e.g. Instagram or YouTube). As this will impact users it’s important that you make clear what’s happening to their apps and why.
Finally, be equally transparent about the consequences of wilful non-compliance. Hopefully that will be rare once the back-end infrastructure and rules of your mobility policy are in place, but it’s important that consequences for policy non-compliance are made explicit — if only to avoid confusion and negativity.
A transparent and detailed policy can help you deliver a successful corporate mobility strategy, and higher returns on your mobility investments.
Want to share your own mobility best practices and learn from other IT professionals? We’re hosting a roundtable session discussing exactly that at IDC’s Enterprise Communications – Mobility, Unified Communications and Collaboration Conference in London THIS THURSDAY. And we have 2 free tickets to attend which are up for grabs. Register and use the promo code “Wandera” to secure your complimentary space at the conference.